Surf and sustainability

The Riders

The Surfrider Club on Cal Poly campus is a division of the Surfrider Foundation, which is a non-profit grassroots organization that works on a national level to protect and preserve coastlines.

Cal Poly Surfrider is one out of 30 nationwide college and high school clubs. The club also joins forces with the local San Luis Obispo chapter of the Surfrider foundation for many of their projects and conservation initiatives.

Surfrider Club holds on-campus meetings to discuss current and future projects and ways in which the Cal Poly community can get involved with coast conservation efforts.

The club organizes beach clean-ups, works together on projects such as Blue Water Task Force, Ocean Friendly Gardens, and even coordinates quarterly coastal camping trips.

The Vision


On a sunny Sunday morning, members of Cal Poly’s Surfrider Club meet up at Morro Bay Beach for a club-organized trash cleanup. Fourth year Nutrition major and club Vice President Camille Morr’s car sits parked facing the shore in the dirt parking lot of the spot nicknamed ‘The Pit’. Morro Rock provides a backdrop for the cleanup. Volunteers take a few minutes to appreciate the scene before getting to work. 'It’s nice and calm,' said Nikki Gan, 1st year Business major and club member. 'I could stay out here for ages…if I didn’t have homework.' Boards are laid out across ice plants on the dunes of The Pit. Though the cleanup was scheduled for 10:00AM, some club members showed up hours earlier to take advantage of the surf. 
5th year Industrial Engineering major and Club President Alex Ly, Camille Morr, and English major graduate Liam Hedriana scour the sand for debris left behind by beach-goers. 'We actually struggled to find trash today,' said Hedriana.
'But I think that’s good, because we’re used to cleaning up places like Pirate’s Cove and finding 300 pounds of trash. People are sleeping on the beach there, we find condoms on condoms.' Camille Morr holds up a toothbrush found sticking out of the sand. The trash found during the cleanup ranges from torn articles of clothing to Lego pieces. 3rd year Environmental Engineering major Andrew Pedroni finds a dog tag peeking out from behind bramble. Also found in the sand is a plastic bag left behind by a dog owner. 'That’s worse for the environment than if they had just left the dog’s business how it was,' said Pedroni. 
A trash receptacle made to look like the mouth of a shark stands at the edge of the parking lot. The words partly covered by stickers read, 'PROVIDED BY CAL POLY SURFRIDER'. The club makes efforts to make beach cleaning as easy as possible for others who visit. The club’s next project: working with the city of Morro Bay and Morro Bay High School Surf Club to install trash cans in the parking lot of The Pit. Alex Ly’s dog trots through the dirt parking lot of ‘The Pit’ at Morro Bay as Surfrider club members finish compiling and counting the bags of trash they have collected from the beach. 'His name is Smitty,' said Ly. 'His full name is Smittywerbenjagermanjensen, you know from Spongebob? His name tag says his full name and even says ‘He was #1’. One time he got out, a girl called me and tried to read his tag, but then just gave up and said, 'I found your dog...he’s black and white and has spots.’” 
 Equipment provided by the club’s parent organization Surfrider Foundation, such as buckets and trash pick-up tools, sit next to the filled trash bags. Once all the litter has been collected, the bags are counted and loaded up in club members' trucks to be disposed of. The Surfriders chat about the cleanup before parting ways and agreeing to see each other at the next club meeting during the upcoming week.

The Effort


The Surf